I’m a Failure, But Don’t Judge Me

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Recently I was wasting a bit of time on Facebook and came across some “Happy Anniversary, baby” posts. There were a lot of “I’m married to the greatest man and the most wonderful father,” and “I’m so lucky to have married my soulmate.” Indeed! I’m a sucker for romance and for a happy ending. I admit I get envious at these lucky-in-love stories, but I love them all the same. It gives me hope that true love can last.

While these posts make me smile, one of these social media contributors took it a step further into the judgment zone. For example, she wrote of her wonderful “hubby” and how “blessed” she was to be married to him and went on to say that they’ve “survived some MAJOR setback and some SERIOUS tribulations” within their marriage. She actually said: “A weaker couple would head for their divorce attorneys,” but this golden couple stuck it out and they are happy as all get out. She went on to say that the poor saps that chose divorce are just “quitters” and are “failures” at relationships. Really, the message I took from this is that in a nutshell, divorced people suck.

Yes, I am a failure. I take half of the blame for my marriage ending. I won’t go into the ins and outs of why it ended (besides, I’ve waxed poetically on that many times in previous blog posts). TruthfullyI don’t feel I need to justify anything. However, I will say this: I have failed, but no one should judge my decisions unless they walk in my shoes. If you were to experience what happens behind closed doors in my home then perhaps you’d have a better understanding.

And I’ve gotta say this: Shame on you for judging anything you don’t understand. It’s not your business. It’s not your life.

When I walked down the aisle over 9 years ago I certainly didn’t expect my marriage to implode. I was in it for the ever after. Does anyone choose a life of uncertainty, pain for their children, financial insecurity and overall angst and loneliness? Hell, no! Sadly, some people are unwilling (or don’t know how) to change. We are all flawed human beings.

I don’t even judge my future ex-husband. He’s got his shit to work through. Clearly with all of our marriage counseling, interventions and at times me begging him with tear-stained cheeks to please just be nicer and be more patient with our son, he just couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. It all comes down to not being the right match. I truly hope one day he meets that woman that will turn his life around and inspire him to be the man that I know he can be, if only he takes the time to work through his issues. I want him to be whole and happy so he is a better father to our son.

I walk away knowing I did it all. It’s difficult and sad and scary, but it’s the right decision. Because, by the way, my other decision is to stick it out which would have meant continuing to living with a stranger whose own family is a low priority (first priority: partying) and who sees no need to work at our marriage. No thanks. I won’t be imprisoned in a depressing and static situation because some people may judge me. It’s wonderful if two people work together to make their marriage the best it can be. Sadly, I have not found that partner yet who is willing to do that. Dating is certainly not a good indicator of how someone will be as a spouse and both partners must be ready to cherish their love and treat it like that magical gift that it is.

If this isn’t enough for you smuggy judgers let me say this: I am happy that you are with someone who respects and adores you and who is willing to work with you through the tough times. That is to be celebrated. Hold onto that person and never let go.

However, I am an intelligent human being and know when to leave well enough alone. There comes a point when one cannot take the pain anymore. Don’t judge me for my well-thought out decisions. If you still don’t get it, you need to realize relationships take work by both partners.

In the end, if someone chooses to judge me, I really don’t give a f&@#.

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John Tesh Thinks He Knows About Love

Image I was listening to the radio (something I rarely do unless it’s NPR) when Mr. John Tesh was on. I was driving in the rain and his voice broke through the thrum of the wipers and the splashes of my tires through the puddles. He was talking about love. Of course I was interested. Of course I couldn’t turn it off.

He gave advice on how to talk to the opposite sex. It actually made me giggle.

Guys, you should know that if you want to get a girl’s attention, just ask her where the nearest museum is.

Yes, really.

I would love it if someone would randomly ask me that question. I would probably answer that the nearest museum of interest is due east in Chicago (being a big fan of the Art Institute). Usually only homeless men talk to me, but that’s a whole other story.

I suppose Mr. Tesh is saying that one will appear cultured by asking that question. But it seems really silly to have a canned question on hand to ask some cutie. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever just gone up to someone (in a sober state) that I found attractive and fed them a line or tried to start a conversation. I suppose I have but usually a few minute conversation occurs and then I’ve moved on to more pressing matters like paying for the groceries.

So, where does one meet someone? A bar? A bookstore? At the laundromat? These all sound like intriguing places but going out and searching isn’t going to help you find “the one” any sooner. I truly believe that things happen as they are meant to, in their own time. Sometimes things happen that aren’t so lovely to help us grow and to find that love within ourselves.

The love from my son, my friends, my family, my dog, even from strangers is what fills my heart. And by traveling on a tough road I’ve grown stronger and learned what I deserve and what I will never settle for again. Magic happens when you surround yourself with positive, loving people who accept you and lift you up. When the time is right I won’t need a line or a certain place to meet the person who I will fall in love with. It’ll happen in due time when it’s right, with or without John Tesh.

I know that in my heart.

Taking the Long Way

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Everyone has adversity. We all handle it differently. Some things seem insurmountable, but eventually we get through it and make it to the other side.

Eventually.

Some things, no matter how badly you want them, no matter how hard you work for them, just don’t happen when you want them to. I’d like to think things happen for a reason. The only reason I can come up with for current events is that Life is teaching me patience.

I just want to start a new life. I want to move out of the house that my future ex-husband, my son and I share.

It doesn’t matter that I filed for divorce over 9 months ago. It doesn’t matter that I quit my teaching job to move to a new state for my husband and his job. It doesn’t matter that my husband can be emotionally and verbally abusive. The hard fact is that there just is not enough money for us to move out until I secure full-time employment.

My lawyer laid that out for me yesterday. It was a hard pill to swallow but not all that surprising.  If I didn’t have a beautiful 6-year-old I could live in a crappy apartment or my car. I could move back to my home state and live with family. None of these are options for me at the moment. Even on a full-time teacher’s salary, I will only be able to rent a decent apartment. Certainly with only a part-time job I could only afford a stinky one room dwelling on campus, if that. Obviously I don’t want my son to live in squalor.

Certainly I filed for divorce because things just became so unbearable, so toxic, that I had to end things. So, imagine adding to that the confession to my husband that, “I don’t want to be married to you anymore.” Things can be a wee bit tense. I will say; however, that things have been slightly better than I expected. I suspect that my husband’s lawyer has advised him to keep things kosher so he isn’t forced out of the house. And as crappy of a father that he can be, our son loves him. Throughout our relationship I have always been the one to “keep the peace,” and I continue in that role. It’s a tough balancing act, but I refuse to make things more tense for my son.

I’m hard-working and a very good teacher. I have been applying for teaching jobs since last fall. I’ve had interviews but no offers. It’s deeply frustrating. I live in a small college town. I have my Master’s degree and 8 years of full-time teaching experience. Unfortunately, in this economy, that seems to be working against me. There are plenty of fresh-faced college kids that the district can pay much less to than to hire me. I’ve heard from more than one principal to “keep applying,” and that I “will find a job – any school will be lucky” to have me. These seem like empty words when the people telling me this chose to hire someone else.

There are now slightly less than 3 weeks before school starts. I have not given up hope because jobs continue to be posted. However, I haven’t had a call this week for an interview. I am confident in my ability to teach but that doesn’t mean it’s not a bitch to find a job. However, I keep plugging along.

As difficult as this situation is, the human spirit is stronger. I strive to stay positive and grateful for what I do have. I have family that my son and I can go visit to get away. I have friends that are understanding and take my calls at odd hours. My son is healthy. I had the strength to start this process and I have the strength to finish it. Things may not be resolved on my timeline, but eventually it will all fall into place.

10 Signs You Are About to Become Forever Alone

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So, while surfing the web and reading absolutely random things, I got stuck on an absolutely random page. It was one of those pseudo-celebrity/advice websites that’s all flash and headlines. I am going to admit something very shameful here. A headline caught my eye. I had to read it:

“10 Signs You Are About to Become Forever Alone”

Okay, I have to admit, I was intrigued. Were there really 10 signs that would tell me that I’d be alone forever, a woman who lived at the top of a hill with 10 cats and a garden of lupines? Had I already started exhibiting these signs (like maybe, spending too much time on the Internet or singing too loudly while driving my car)?

The title was clearly written in a very manipulative way, like if I didn’t read it in the next 10 seconds, my life would pass me by and I’d  have no more chances for love and companionship. Had I already waited too long and all my hope was gone?

So, I clicked on the damn article, hoping to pick up some mojo/techniques on how not to die alone. The link brought me to an article called something like “10 reasons to dump your mate because he or she is a complete baddy.” It was all a ruse. I’m not certain if the message to take from this is if you decide to leave a bad relationship you will then be alone forever, but I’d like to think not. The first title is clearly much more magnetic and interesting. It was false advertising. Besides, if someone does have a list of 10 signs that tell me I’m about to be forever alone, I’d love to get a copy. I’ll read it while sipping some wine, have a giggle and then shred that fucker.

full of grace

Once upon a time, about 9 years ago, my husband and I adopted a dog. Our first anniversary was coming up and I had told him that the only thing I wanted as a present, the only think I would accept, was a dog. I didn’t want a fancy designer dog or a purebred that costs thousands of dollars. I wanted a rescue dog. He was sort of against getting a dog for whatever reasons, but I craved having an animal I could call my own. We both decided we wanted a big dog. First, because we both grew up with small dogs and we knew that when adopting, it’s much easier and quicker to get a bigger dog. Also, my husband learned early on (a trait that still drives him crazy) is that once I get something in my head I HAVE to accomplish it 5 minutes ago. I make lists and cross off my chores for the day. I hate having things hang over my head, it stresses me out too much. And if it’s something that’s not work-related, well then I really have to go, have it now. So, after announcing what I wanted, I grabbed his car keys, placed them in his palm and said, “Let’s go!”

“Whoa, whoa. Let’s think about this for a while,” he said.

“What is there to think about. There are so many dogs that need a home. Let’s go check them out.” (I was hoping my enthusiasm was wearing on him.)

“How much does it cost? Where will the dog sleep? Who will take her for walks? What about when we’re not home?”

I laughed at all this and at this point he knew if we did not go right this instant, that I would be bugging him all day. Okay, I admit, I’m a little impulsive, but we had a house, we had a yard, we both had full-time jobs and could afford the $100 rescue fee and the food, toys, crate, etc.

“Let’s not over-think things. Let’s just do it,” I said with conviction.

He rolled his eyes at me and started walking toward the garage, in mock defeat. We drove to the animal shelter. There were so many dogs. I had never been to one before and I was completely overwhelmed. Dog after dog after dog in cages, looking lonely and lost. Immediately I started crying. T looked alarmed and asked if I was okay.

“Yes!” I said unconvincingly.

“I knew you’d get sad. You always get sad at stuff like this,” he said.

“Stuff like this? Yes, I do get said at looking at all these dogs without a home. They look scared and lonely.”

Sometimes feelings really overwhelm me and kind of take over. I suddenly felt lonely and sad. I felt like the dogs did, somehow. But, I would not let this deter me. We were here to rescue a dog. It wouldn’t do me any good to stand here and cry. Instead, we started walking around. Many of the dogs barked at us, so it was extremely loud. There was a run out back where you could meet with individual dogs. I saw Lola and wanted to meet her. She was huge, but I loved the name. We took her outside, and she kind of hid in the corner. Then she pooped in the corner. Then she sat in it. Clearly this dog had issues.

We looked at several more, and they all acted afraid of us. It’s not hard to figure out why – most of these dogs were abused or neglected or hadn’t had human contact in a long time. Again, sad stuff. I was feeling a bit defeated, thinking we wouldn’t find our dog today. We had both agreed on getting a female dog, just because of the fact that we both grew up with female dogs. Each cage, which mostly had 2 dogs in them, had a tag posted for each dog stating the dog’s breed (most were lab/unknown), it’s age (a total guess) and it’s gender. As we were walking down another aisle of dogs, a black dog came up and started wagging its tail at us and stared at us with big brown eyes.

“Oh, too bad its a male,” I said after looking at its tag.

“Wait, I am pretty sure that’s a girl. I don’t see any, um….” T explained.

The volunteer laughed and said he was right, that this dog had been tagged incorrectly. We then asked if we could take her outside.

As soon as we took her to the run, she came alive. First she came up to me, sniffed my neck then licked my face. I giggled in delight. Then she ran up to T and did the same thing. She was sweet and loving and joyful. We didn’t find her, she found us.

The volunteer explained that black dogs are always the hardest to find homes for because for some reason there is a bias – some people see them as intimidating. This was the sweetest-looking 1-year-old, 70 pound lab/whatever I’d ever seen. I looked at T.

“So, it’s her then, huh?”

He shook his head yes.

We had to fill out paperwork and pay the $100. They would do a background check on us, but said all should be fine and we could come back tomorrow to pick her up. That would give us time to dog-proof the house and buy her food, toys, a bed and a crate. As we were wrapping things up, I looked back and there she was, lying down with her chin on the floor, brown eyes looking up at me, heartbroken. I ran back over to her cage, (which got the other dogs in an uproar) but she just kept laying on the floor, pouting.

“We’re coming back for you tomorrow, sweetie, don’t worry. I promise.”

By the time we picked her up the next day, I had decided on the name Gracie. I always loved that name and it seemed (and was) so fitting for her.

Gracie had a lot of energy and loved when we took her on runs with us. She was full of a certain zest for life and absolutely loved people. Our neighbors fell in love with her instantly. Not that she wasn’t naughty sometimes. She ate a whole loaf of bread once (wrapping and all), a whole pan of brownies, a stick of butter and ran around with a whole jar of peanut butter in her mouth. But, she was our baby. I usually arrived home first from school and she greeted me like I was a rock star. I would just lay and hug her for a few minutes – and she’d let me. Then, she had to go on a walk. Still, when T came home she was just as excited to see him.

We had our son a year later and she was the most gentle beast. She maybe sniffed him once and then just left him alone. She seemed to understand the sacred time between mother and baby. She’d get up with me for 3:00 a.m. feedings and lay at my feet. If our son started crying she’d kind of pace around until she knew he was okay.

I had a bad Chrohn’s flare once and Gracie laid faithfully beside me. Just having her warm body to lean against helped a little with the pain. Some things to know about Gracie is that she was loyal, she loved to have her belly rubbed, give kisses and chase squirrels. She wasn’t a complicated girl.

Two summers ago my son and I were visiting family in Chicago. T had called me on the second day saying that Gracie had been throwing up so he took her to the vet. They took a couple of blood samples and the vet thought she had an infection in her liver, but that she could be treated with antibiotics. She’d be home by the time we got home in 3 days. The next day T called at 4:30 a.m. He told me the vet had called and things had become markedly worse. She couldn’t walk, had no control of her bodily functions and the liver tests were not improving. She was suffering and we had to make a decision. We both knew what the decision had to be, but I wasn’t going to let my Gracie go until I saw her one last time.

I explained to my son that Gracie was sick and we needed to go home. That 4 hour trek seemed like 400 hours. It was the hardest and most painful drive. When we got home, we dropped out little guy off at grandma’s and T and I drove together to the vet. We were silent. He grabbed my hand and held it and I let him. Our marriage was quickly crumbling, but Gracie was one of the best decisions we’d ever made together. I knew he was hurting as much as I was. Once we parked and got out of the car we held each other for a little while. No one but us understood what we were going through. If you’ve lost a pet, you understand. They are family, and she was so magical and beautiful. The truth is she rescued us.

We went in and the doctor came and talked to us. Her liver was failing and nothing could be done about it. With tears running down my cheeks I croaked out, “What would you do if she were your dog?”

The vet kindly held my hand and said in almost a whisper, “It’s time, Jill. It’s time for her to leave us.”

“Okay.”

We could have chosen to leave, but we both wanted to be by Gracie’s side while she was put to sleep. They wheeled her in on a gurney. Her eyes were open, but her pupils were huge, rimmed with a thin line of brown. I kissed her on her mouth. She didn’t kiss me back – that was the first time she hadn’t.

The vet explained she would get two shots. The first shot would relax her and put her to sleep. The second one would stop her heart. I honestly don’t know how vets do their job. However, if an animal is suffering, it is cruel to let it continue.

Right after the first shot, Gracie closed her eyes. The vet paused. I think she wanted to give us one last moment. I leaned down and whispered, “Goodbye, Gracie girl. I love you so much. Thank you for everything you gave us. We’ll see each other again.”

I looked at T, and he gave me a half smile, as tears ran down this face. The vet gave the last injection. Everything went still.

“She’s gone. She’s in peace,” she said.

Losing Gracie was the biggest loss I’ve ever had so far. Truly, losing a pet is just as traumatic as losing a human loved one. Losing her symbolized the last chapter in our marriage, also. The thin strings holding it together were severed that day. Now, we had nothing left in common. I will give T credit where it’s due – he loved that dog. Unfortunately he treated her better than he treated our son and me.

Gracie taught me quite a few things. She was big and black and had large teeth, but she was the worst guard dog. She loved absolutely everyone and wouldn’t hurt a flea (maybe a squirrel, but she never caught one of those). Wouldn’t it be grand to be known as someone who loved everyone and wouldn’t hurt anyone? I would love to have that as my legacy. I still have some work to do.

If she was ever in a bad mood or sick, you never knew it. She always returned your kisses and waited for a pat on the head or for her belly to be rubbed. In other words, she didn’t ask for a whole lot, but she gave a whole lot to everyone in her presence. It was pure unconditional love. She just wanted our company. How about working on that, Jill? I don’t need things, I just need to be around people who love me.

She taught me that being in the moment brings peace. She would amaze me when I’d watch her laying in the grass for hours, eyes fixated on a bird or a leaf or a cloud. She was happy just feeling the warm breeze. No worrying, just living. Just being.

Lastly, she taught me that at times, even though we don’t want to, we have to let go. For whatever reason, her liver failed and it was her time to go. Six years was hardly long enough to have her in our lives, but we were damn lucky to have that time with her. Maybe she’s chasing those squirrels in heaven. I didn’t have a choice, so I let go as gracefully as I could.

Here is a poem I wrote for her shortly after she left us. I talk to her sometimes still. I hope she can hear me.

Full of GraceGpant

The first buds of spring break through the frozen ground
Still, it’s not as perfect as you, oh you
You are every color, every line ever drawn
Consider this your canticle
Maybe if I sing it loud enough you will hear
And you will break through, too, untethered
With your heart beating, ruby red and boundless

The Case of the Missing Letters

Does anyone else miss the dying art of letter writing?

I certainly do. Of course, technology is great. I wonder how I got through college without an iPad, iPhone and iPod. That was 20 years ago and the Internet was just getting started. It was minimalist to say the least, and not in that sexy, stripped-down way. It was list servers and email, which I rarely checked since the nearest computer with an Internet connection was halfway across campus. And besides, only about 2 people were emailing me at best and only on rare occasion.

I admit I do enjoy the efficiency of texting. Sometimes you just have a quick question or need to let someone know something and you may not want to call them because you don’t have time for a long conversation. Texts are remarkable that way.

However, texts are taking the place of emails, as we’ve become too lazy to write lengthy discourse. Twitter doesn’t help either. It can be cute and funny and stress-relieving to shoot off 140 characters about a song or a book or a joke or how you’re feeling about your asshole neighbor, etc. Obviously that’s different from texting since it’s to a world-wide audience, and I wonder if the few followers I do have even read my truncated spiels.

So, about those letters. I love paper. I love pens. I love putting pen to paper. I love the feel of paper in my hand, the smell of it. “Back in the day,” letters were all we had. In elementary school I penned quite a few unsent love letters to my crushes, imploring them that if they only got to know me they would be enraptured immediately (: . I wrote plenty of notes (the nonromantic word for letters) to my friends where we would write back and forth on the same paper (texting without technology!). Of course, all was done cloak and dagger style as teachers loved nothing more than to see a student squirm if he or she confiscated a note and read it aloud or, as one male teacher liked to do, pin notes on his bulletin board.

As I grew older, letters were exchanged with my more literate/romantic boyfriends (ones that did not like writing letters were put aside in the “just a date” or “friends” category). There wasn’t a vast line-up of serious suitors, but a few who I were in love with that thrilled me with their confessions of love for me on paper. And since my feelings were there but awkward or difficult for me to communicate in speech, writing a letter to my love was the best way to handle that.

And, sorry, but scrolling through texts or searching through emails or Facebook messages has zero percent of the romance of opening up a letter and reading the words that were written – by hand- has.

People – fictional and real – fascinate me. More than that, people in love really captivate me. Two writers that I’m obsessed with are Anais Nin and Henry Miller. Another example of soulmates (see post below), they were friends who loved the written word and were in many ways each other’s muse. So, of course, I am endeared with A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller. At first their discourse is an exchange of constructive criticism and encouragement about each other’s writing. We get to see their relationship evolve from admiration to a passionate life-long love affair, cooling to a friendship in their older years. Of course, it helps that the people writing the letters write beautiful prose and both know how to write a highly articulate turn of phrase.

How about this excerpt from one of Miller’s letters to Nin:

August 14, 1932

Anais:

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old. 

[…]

I say this is a wild dream—but it is this dream I want to realize. Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you assert yourself the more you want me, need me. Your voice getting hoarser, deeper, your eyes blacker, your blood thicker, your body fuller. A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity. More cruel now than before—consciously, wilfully cruel. The insatiable delight of experience.

HVM

Absolutely captivating.

Not only are letters themselves a treasure, but something about the waiting is sensual. Currently, sending a letter through the post usually takes about 2 – 3 days (which seems like a lifetime to some because of the speed of technology). 100 or 200 years ago, the wait could have been agony; sending a heated letter to your lover about how desperate you were for his or her love and then having to wait… It had to make receiving the response even sweeter.

I’d like to bring the tradition of the letter back. Hopefully I get a response.

Soulmates?

Johnny & June - definitely soulmates.

Johnny & June – as depicted in film and in real life – were definitely soulmates.

My good friend E and I had a running discussion that lasted for several years about whether soulmates actually existed. I believe they do, she believes they do not.

When she and I met I was single and she was -and still is – married. We taught together at the same school. During one “ice-breaker” activity on the first inservice day, we had to share what our favorite book was. She and I both answered Catcher in the Rye. From that point on, I knew we were meant to be friends for life.

I don’t remember exactly how the subject of soulmates came up, but I would imagine that I was waxing poetically about how I desired to meet mine: The One, someone I couldn’t live without, someone who was connected to me by our souls. Not missing a beat she said, “There is no such thing as a soulmate.”

I was shocked. My friend ,who felt the same way as me about one of the most resounding and memorable characters in literature (Holden was innocent, kind, confused, cynical and ultimately romantic), actually didn’t believe in soulmates? How is that even possible?

She explained, after I forced my mouth closed, “that there is not one single person out there for everybody.” She continued to say you meet people by chance. If you find qualities you like in that person and find them attractive, then there you go. There was no mystical universe plotting and planning our love lives.

Yes, dear reader, I do agree, in a world with billions of people, there may be more than one person suited for us, one that we connect with on a higher level. And most likely we can have more than one soulmate. It could be a friend or a lover. Here’s one definition of soulmate from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of SOULMATE

1: a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament

2: a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs <ideological soul mates>

Now, a less academic definition from Urban Dictionary:

A soulmate is someone you have a very deep connection. It is not always easy explained. It is a meeting of mind, heart, body and soul on the highest of levels. Communication is at its easiest, as they understand you perfectly, and accept you completely with no judgments.

E’s husband is a lovely man – smart, funny, successful, athletic, has a great taste in music, is complimentary and kind – but he is not E’s soulmate. I would suspect this is why she doesn’t believe in them (nor does he, by the way). They have a normal, imperfect, functioning marriage with three beautiful children. Are they right for each other? They seem to be just fine. I don’t know if there was ever any fire or passion in their relationship, but they both have very “chill” temperaments, so I don’t know if they are those kind of people. Not that they aren’t intelligent and deep, because they are, but they don’t necessarily have that fire in their soul – at least not when it comes to love. I would say they are comfortable.

Soulmate love is not a comfortable kind of love. In fact, it can be quite difficult. Because soulmates are very alike in very many ways. So, if there is something you don’t like about yourself, that quality will probably annoy the hell out of you in the other person. He knows how to push your buttons, and you know how to push his. But of course it is also amazingly beautiful because you feel connected, you feel that someone finally gets you and you can talk and talk for hours. You’re best friends. There is passion. There is someone who believes in you and you believe in him right back. He or she is the missing puzzle piece in your life.

I included the picture from Walk the Line because, well, I love that movie, and because Johnny Cash and June Carter are a great example of soulmates. Both were musical, passionate, talented, stubborn and completely and whole-heartedly in love. Everything was bigger with them. So, there were years of difficulties, but they stayed together and understood one another and were deeply in love. They were best friends. They respected one another and wrote songs together and performed together. They were cut from the same cloth. They were partners in crime.

A passionate-best friend-amazing lover-intellectual equal-cheerleader-inspirer-muse-type relationship isn’t what everyone aspires for. And that’s okay. But I have experienced a soulmate relationship. Sadly, for a million different reasons, it ended. Happily, we’re still friends. Incidentally, I was a teenager when we dated and had no clue about a lot of things. Life is certainly a great teacher and I didn’t realize what I had until….well, you know the rest. So, I know what I want and I know what my soul craves. While I don’t agree with E’s stance on soulmates, I do hope she’s right about there being more than one person out there for everyone.